Jefferson County lawmakers will hire a head for homelessness

Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 5:53 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Jefferson County will bring someone on board whose main job will be to deal with homelessness. On Tuesday, county legislators passed a resolution that will make this possible.

Now the county will hire a director of housing.

“It really has to be someone who has a passion to assist those who are in crisis and has an understanding of what homelessness really looks like in Jefferson County,” said Jefferson County Department of Social Service Commissioner Teresa Gaffney.

She says the key for whoever takes the position is to understand every homelessness situation is not the same.

The county’s community services director says whoever fills in the spot will work on projects the county already has in mind, such as an emergency response pod and a pallet shelter.

“The pallet shelter community offers single-person cabins. They are individual within a larger community where a person has a bed, air conditioning, heat, an outlet, a light, and it provides a safe, comfortable individual setting for them,” said director of Jefferson County Community Services Tim Ruetten

Nearly 100 housing units were restored with the reopening of 661 Factory Street and 140 High Street, which were previously condemned.

“Each one of them has an office space that is rented by DSS and staffed, so we actually have social services personnel helping the people that live there stay homed, stay healthy,” said Ruetten.

These are things that the director of housing will also help facilitate.

County legislators say this is a civil service position and it will be a few months until someone is hired.